I recently returned from attending the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Italy, the hottest - and largest - international furnishings expo in Europe. Now in its 55th year, the Salon del Mobile.Milano covers over 37 acres (!!) and draws in over 300,000 attendees, reflecting an unprecedented level of attention on high-quality kitchens, baths and furnishings. The expo hosts several concurrent forums, of which I attended EuroCucina, which spotlights the International Kitchen Furniture Exhibition and the International Bathroom Exhibition.
The Salone's design trends will migrate to the U.S. over the course of the next few years, and I am excited that attending the show gives me an opportunity to give my readers a sneak peek of some of these upcoming designs.
Social Dining Dominates
This year's show reflected the recent growth in "social dining", a trend in which people entertain at home rather than go out, and all the activity occurs in the kitchen. Cooks work their magic as friends and family are close by and everyone joins in the experience and the fun.
Black is the New Black
Black is making a comeback, and paired with white, it's sleek and sophisticated. The cabinets were made of black metal with clear glass doors and a stainless steel range hood. In the foreground you can see the large kitchen island with seating for guests to enjoy the social dining experience. Some designs used several modular tables that could be pushed together or re-arranged in different ways to suit the occasion.
The island and the countertops were made of white marble. Marble is popular in Europe and is undeniably beautiful, while in the U.S. homeowners often chose quartz surfaces that require less care. (Since marble is more susceptible to damage, when I use it in a kitchen design I offer a lifetime sealer for protection.) Note the waterfall edge on the right side of the countertop at the rear of the photo. This design also included a funky single large light fixture.
Wood and White
The elegance of the white marble paired with the look of wood adds warmth. Wood isn't a readily available resource in Europe, so usually the wood surface is a textured wood-look laminate. In the U.S., we opt for real wood.
The enormous 'L'-shaped island incorporated the kitchen table seating so popular in this year's designs, allowing the cook to prepare meals while talking to guests. The multiple pendant light fixtures focus plenty of light onto the work/eating surfaces.
On the left there is a large, white open wall unit. The wall units in the show often featured a door-less design and were either nicely back-lit or completely open on both sides and used as a room divider.
Again, you see the large wood island with seating, and here the table was integrated with the cooking surface. The seating area was moved off center from the rest of the island. which is an interesting look but we'd really want to examine our traffic pattern in the space before choosing that design. Above the cooking surface was a tall monolith shaped fixture incorporating both the range hood and lighting.
This kitchen island houses the sink, cutting board, the cooktop and an innovative storage area. This one contained live plants and herbs, but you could use it for whatever you like - how about some ice and bottles of wine?
Pops of Color
Another popular trend in the show were neutral cabinet displays with occasional pops of color on the other surfaces such as green, yellow, red or navy. In this photo we see green on the fixture containing the lighting and the range hood. Note the sleek look these cabinets have without protruding handles. In this design, the lower cabinets are warmed up with wood.
Free standing ornamental hoods were featured, making their own visual statement. Some were stainless steel or metal, some featured pop of color, and this black matt hood was used as a chalkboard. (I, myself, wouldn't recommend the chalkboard surface on the range hood because when you erase the chalk the dust would fall onto the cooktop. Ick!)
Useful Wall Units
Here is more of some of the features already described: a banquette styled kitchen table with seating for guests, and a large open wall unit. This one features grow lights and potted fresh herbs for easy accessibility when cooking.
Also notice the pendant light fixtures. In some designs, the features were clustered together, which is an appealing look too.
Brass is on Its Way Back
There were many custom crafted stone sinks, made to your specifications. This one was made of marble. They can be made farmhouse style, where you see the front surface of the stone sink, and undermount style, where you don't see the front surface of the sink.
Brass is on its way back too, in all types of fixtures. This faucet is paired with matte black for a contemporary look. The hose can be pulled away from the fixture and conveniently moved around.
I hope you enjoyed this look at what's coming soon to our kitchen! Stay tuned for our next blog describing the show's bath trends - including amazing showers, free standing tubs, and wall mounted faucets. If you are looking for a new kitchen - give us a call!